California Invasion of Privacy Act

The California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”)/California Penal Code Section 630 et seq. is a California state law aimed at protecting individuals’ privacy rights by prohibiting the unauthorized recording or interception of confidential communications. CIPA generally prohibits the following actions without the consent of all parties involved: (1) Wiretapping: Intercepting or recording telephone or electronic communications, such as phone calls, text messages, or emails; (2) Eavesdropping: Listening in on or recording confidential communications, including private conversations, without the knowledge and consent of the participants; and (3) Recording Conversations: Recording in-person conversations, either face-to-face or overheard without the consent of all parties.

Enacted in 1967, CIPA has certain exceptions, such as allowing the recording of communications with the consent of all involved parties, law enforcement activities, and certain business-related activities. It is important to note that CIPA applies to both individuals and entities, and violations can lead to civil liability and criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment. (It is worth noting that California also has other privacy-related laws and regulations, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) and the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”), that specifically address data privacy and consumer rights in the digital age.)

A defendant may prevail in a CIPA case by negating any of the essential elements of that claim, or by pleading and proving  an affirmative defense.  A defendant may plead and prove other available defenses (e.g., consent, unclean hands, etc.), that may be appropriate in view of the nature of the claim and the relief requested.